Below is Echo Morgan's extraordinary performance "Be the Inside of the Vase" (2012). The title comes from advice from her mother, "Don't be a vase, pretty but empty inside, be the inside, be the quality!" According to the notes accompanying the video, Morgan tells a two-part story of her childhood, the first beginning with her father's attempted suicide and the second relating her relationship with her mother. Ultimately, her story is, as Morgan emphatically states, hers: "This is my voice, my story, my childhood; please break my vase." Photography is by Jamie Baker.
Performed live, the four-hour "Be the Inside of the Vase", reduced here to some 13 minutes, is profoundly moving and lyrical. During the performance, Morgan uses clay, Chinese tissue paper, willow sculpture, water balloons, aluminum sculpture, and audio, in addition to beautifully applied body paint that lends enormous expressiveness to Morgan's story.
Echo Morgan's Chinese name is Xie Rong. She grew up in ChengDu and moved to the United Kingdom at age 19. She lives and works in London. Read Morgan's informative Artist Statement and browse her portfolio, which includes installations and performance, text and collaborative projects.
In 2014, in GuangZhou, China, Morgan performed "Touching Happiness", a three-hour live performance photographed by Baker. During the performance, Morgan, who was 24 weeks pregnant, enacted a Chinese custom, "Touch Blessing", during which she invited the audience to touch her belly; a hidden noise sensor sounded a mix of a temple bell and her child's heartbeats as each person reached out. Morgan also blew 200 balloons that she urged audience members to take away as a sign of shared happiness. (Photos of the performance are available on Morgan's FaceBook page.)
Be the inside of the vase from Echo Morgan on Vimeo.
Echo Morgan Website
Echo Morgan Blog, Echo's brain container, can be accessed from her Website.
(My thanks to Ann Tracy for sharing this wonderful video of performance art.)